Topsham businessman looking forward to New Year

A WINE expert who received the financial backing of entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne on Dragons Den says the business project has started 2011 in a positive fashion.

Geoff Bowen, who runs Pebblebed Vineyards, secured an investment of �60,000 on the show last year, giving people the opportunity to buy part of a vineyard.

Mr Bowen said he had now sorted the land for the new vineyard. The new site will be adjacent to Pebblebed’s existing vineyard at Clyst St George.

Anyone interested in the scheme pays �2,000 for part of a vineyard which they own for a 10-year period.

Investors, in return for their money, can help out with the planting, picking grapes, through to celebrating the first bottles of wine.

They also receive six complementary bottles throughout the period and �50-worth of lunches every year at Pebblebed Vineyards.

“Over the years I have had so many people come up to me saying they would like to be more involved,” he said.

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“It was for this reason I came up with the idea which I pitched to the Dragons – of people having their own vineyard with me doing much of the work and they would have their own land and get wine from it.”

Mr Bowen, who has run Pebblebed Vineyards for around 10 years, is looking forward to a long business relationship with the Scottish-born Dragon.

“Duncan lives in Newcastle so, with our great links with Flybe to and from Exeter Airport, he can get down her quite easily.”

He added: “This is an exciting time. Over the years we have planted up to six new fields. It’s great to be standing in what is an arable or grass field thinking ahead a few years to what it will look like with rows of vines.

“For me there is something special in creating a vineyard, and in future, looking at the hopefully neatly-kept rows.”

For more information on Pebblebed Vineyards, visit the following website address at: